Genocide in Gaza Requires more than Mealy-Mouthed Excuses from South Africa’s Opposition Party

Gaza reels under new massacres carried out by the Israeli army. (Photo: via Eye on Palestine)

By Iqbal Jassat

South Africa’s opposition political party the Democratic Alliance (DA), has done no more than mealy-mouth talk of “peace”.

Whenever South Africa’s opposition political party the Democratic Alliance (DA), widely perceived and known to be pro-Israel, is challenged on its stance vis-a-vis Palestine, its kneejerk reaction is that it shares the same vision as the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

What is it that it claims to be common to both? The two-state solution.

At a recent parliamentary debate, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said the ANC believes Israel has a right to exist as a state alongside a state of Palestine and that this has been the long-standing view of her party.

Following her, the DA’s spokesperson affirmed the party’s commitment to a two-state solution and rejected any position that seeks to annihilate either Israel or Palestine.

However, between these long-held party positions, we are witness to almost three months of a relentless full-blown military war on the besieged Gaza Strip by the Netanyahu regime.

The Strip is a tiny refugee camp where 2.3 million Palestinians have for decades been forced, yes compelled by Israel as the occupying power, to survive on the barest minimum in an open military prison.

This fact is known yet glossed over by many in the media as well as commentators, thereby giving a false impression that Gaza is an independent Palestinian state with its own army, navy and all the trimmings of a modern sovereign country.

It is thus a misrepresentation and misleading to project Israel’s barbaric onslaught that since October 7 has killed over 20,000 Palestinian civilians – men, women, children, babies as well as old and disabled people – as a “just war”.

Far from that, it is a barbaric unleashing of the most sophisticated and powerful weapons of mass destruction, by a rogue nuclear-armed apartheid regime.

Saturated coverage by broadcast mediums show how the relentless bombings and missile strikes have continued around the clock, pummeling hospitals, churches, mosques, residential buildings and refugee camps across every inch of the strip.

Images of pain and suffering, whether in bombed out disfunctional hospitals, or in so-called “safe zones”, have outraged the world.

So too have the tragic tales of journalists deliberately targeted and killed and the vengeful wanton coldblooded massacres of their families, spurred the world to take to the streets in their millions to protest Israeli war crimes.

However and despite the overwhelming majority of countries, (more than 150), voted at the UN General Assembly in favour of an immediate ceasefire, the US government has repeatedly blocked similar votes at the Security Council via its unjust veto.

Its a pattern many people are all too familiar with the Biden administration’s unconditional support and backing for the Zionist regime’s horrendous crimes.

It would thus be naive to believe that the DA is not aware of either America’s complicity or of the slaughter of Palestinians by the Netanyahu regime of extreme right-wing racists.

Remember that in May 2022, DA leader John Steenhuisen rocked up in Ukraine and campaigned vigorously against Russia’s invasion. Unlike his deafening silence on the ongoing genocide in Gaza, he declared back then that he was in Kyiv to see “first-hand” the effects of the occupation of Ukraine.

“In the era of fake news and propaganda, this is the only way to truly know what is happening”, he said in a statement.

He also claimed it is important to remember that living in a super-connected world, disruptions in one part cause major ripples everywhere else.

Well, the world has spoken out against the effects of Israel’s savagery in Gaza as well as the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while Steenhuisen has remained embarrassingly silent. In marked contradiction to his stance on Russia.

It ought not to surprise anyone given that the DA confirmed Steenhuisen’s “fact-finding mission” trip to Ukraine was funded by The Brenthurst Foundation which was established by the Oppenheimer family.

One recalls too the spat the DA had with its MP Ghaleb Cachalia, over his strong criticism of Israel, which resulted in him being fired from the so-called shadow cabinet.

The Cape Times summed it up succinctly in an oped: “The DA keeps proving its critics right in their argument that the official opposition party, with ambitions of governing this country, excels in exposing its double standards and it does not tolerate dissent”.

Paying lip service to being committed to a two-state solution is no more than a mirage. Theft of Palestinian lands to build illegal settlements is a core element of Zionism’s expansionist policy. And has been correctly identified as being at the root cause of Palestinian dispossession.

Nor can the DA claim ignorance about Israel’s violation of international law in respect of the illegality of settlements. After all during 2017, a 5-men delegation of DA leaders including Steenhuisen travelled to Israel and met with PM Netanyahu.

Former head of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and presently a DA MP, Michael Bagraim, who was part of the delegation, was quoted in the Jewish Report as saying the meeting with Netanyahu had been “All round extremely functional”.

Ambiguous? Of course, but don’t expect any details or clarity of what was meant by an “extremely functional” meeting with a warlord whose entire career up to the present has been drenched in Palestinian blood.

The challenge faced by both the DA and the ANC on their vision of a two-state mirage, is posed by Netanyahu’s outright rejection of a Palestinian state.

He has been reported to have boasted at a recent press conference in Tel Aviv that he has spent decades thwarting the formation of a Palestinian state, and that he is “proud” of doing so.

In fact Netanyahu’s senior advisor Mark Regev told Piers Morgan that a true Palestinian state with its own military and true sovereignty was never an option for Israel.

To crown it all, Israeli ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely told Sky News last week that there was “absolutely no” possibility of a two-state solution.

Though the ANC’s saving grace has been its ability to fearlessly challenge Israel’s oppressive occupation and relentless slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, the DA has done no more than mealy mouth talk of “peace”.

– Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the South Africa-based Media Review Network. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit:

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